Liam Stack

Are you a millennial? Like it or not, you might be. It’s a roughly defined group, but the Pew Research Center tried to impose some order on the chaos.
If you were born between 1981 and 1996, the group said, it will consider you a millennial.
That definition is slightly more restrictive than the one used by the United States Census Bureau, which sets the cutoff years as 1982 and 2000.
But it still may come as a shock to some who considered themselves part of the earlier or later generations, Generation X or … whatever we call people born after 1996.
No one has figured that part out yet: The New York Times tried to crowdsource an answer to that question in January, but the results were inconclusive. The latest cohort is often called Generation Z, but few of The Times’s respondents seemed to like that name.
One thing many of them had in common: They did not want to be millennials. For the time being, however, Pew said it would refer to them as “post-millennials.”

2 thoughts on “Liam Stack

  1. shinichi Post author

    Are You 21 to 37? You Might Be a Millennial

    by Liam Stack

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/01/style/millennials.html

    Here we go. This article is about millennials.

    Are you a millennial? Like it or not, you might be. It’s a roughly defined group, but on Thursday, the Pew Research Center tried to impose some order on the chaos.

    If you were born between 1981 and 1996, the group said, it will consider you a millennial.

    That definition is slightly more restrictive than the one used by the United States Census Bureau, which sets the cutoff years as 1982 and 2000.

    But it still may come as a shock to some who considered themselves part of the earlier or later generations, Generation X or … whatever we call people born after 1996.

    No one has figured that part out yet: The New York Times tried to crowdsource an answer to that question in January, but the results were inconclusive. The latest cohort is often called Generation Z, but few of The Times’s respondents seemed to like that name.

    One thing many of them had in common: They did not want to be millennials. For the time being, however, Pew said it would refer to them as “post-millennials.”

    But who could blame these youngsters for not wanting their generational brand sullied by association with the dreaded millennial? According to the news media, we have ruined things from marmalade to motorcycles. Not even Halloween has been spared our wrath.

    Paula, a 21-year-old in New Orleans who responded to The Times’s online question about what to call the next generation, wrote that she was tired of “hearing about the infantile antics of millennials.” (Unfortunately for her, both Pew and the Census Bureau classify her as one.)

    “We are trying to step out from under the shadow of millennials by working hard and not expecting the world to fall in our laps,” she said. “We are realistic but determined to succeed.”

    So how do you decide where to draw the line between one generation and the next?

    It’s not an exact science, and the determination may rely in part on intuition. After all, the center said, at the ripe old age of 37, “the oldest millennials are well into adulthood, and they first entered adulthood before today’s youngest adults were born.”

    According to the Census Bureau, millennials were the largest American age group in 2015, with 83.1 million Americans born from 1982 to 2000. That exceeds the number of baby boomers (those born from 1946 to 1964, who numbered 75.4 million) and members of Generation X (those born from 1965 to 1980, who numbered 65 million).

    In a more systematic view, the events that shaped a person’s early life — and whether he or she can remember them — are a primary consideration, Ruth Igielnik, a research associate at the Pew Research Center, said in an interview.

    For example, millennials as well as some people born after 1996 were alive during the Sept. 11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the latest recession and the 2008 presidential election.

    But while millennials came of age — and became politically and socially conscious — against the backdrop of those events, members of the younger generation may not remember them at all. And the impact of those events on their lives may have been muted, she said.

    “Many millennials came of age and entered the work force at the height of the economic recession, but many young adults today are entering the work force in an era of economic growth and low unemployment,” she said.

    That means members of the younger generation may not face the same obstacles to their earning power and their ability to make life choices, like buying a home or marrying, that many millennials have struggled with.

    Technology plays a role, too. Can you remember the sound a dial-up modem used to make when it connected to the internet? Did you ever own a flip phone? Can you still hear the tinny voice of AOL announcing, “You’ve got mail”?

    People born after 1996 may not remember any of those things. For many, high-speed Wi-Fi and touch-screen smartphones have always been a part of life, and “You’ve Got Mail” is just an old movie in their parents’ Netflix queue.

    That is why Emma Morrow, 20, said she thought her generation should be known as the Mobile Generation.

    “We were born into a world where computers could travel with us,” she said. “Everything is mobile.”

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  2. shinichi Post author

    ‘Millennial’ Means Nothing

    by John Quiggin

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/opinion/millennial-means-nothing.html

    The Pew Research Center announced last week that it will define people born between 1981 and 1996 as members of the millennial generation, embracing a slightly narrower range of years than the ones used by the United States Census Bureau. It would have been better, though, if it had announced the end of what I call the “generation game” — the insistence on dividing society into groups based on birth year and imputing different characteristics to each group.

    Yes, limited insights can be gleaned from thinking of humans in terms of generations, but this ultimately does more harm than good by obscuring the individual factors that actually shape our attitudes, politics and opportunities.

    To see what’s wrong with the idea, take a look at American millennials. In seemingly endless essays in recent years, they’ve been derided as lazy and narcissistic or defended as creative and committed to social change. But these all sound like characteristics that the old have ascribed to the young since the dawn of time. Similar terms were applied to the “slacker” Generation X and before that, the baby boomers.

    It’s true that the current cohort (the demographic term for a group of people born around the same time) of young people is different in important ways from earlier cohorts. It’s more ethnically diverse, with a smaller proportion of whites and more of most other racial and ethnic groups. But diversity is a characteristic of a population, not, in most cases, of individuals. A relatively small proportion of millennials personally embody ethnic diversity in the sense of identifying with more than one race or ethnicity.

    Much of the apparent distinctiveness of the millennial generation disappears when we look at individuals rather than aggregates. Black millennials, like their parents, overwhelmingly vote Democratic. By contrast, 41 percent of white millennials voted for Donald Trump in 2016. That’s lower than the 58 percent of all white voters who went for Mr. Trump, but it makes more sense to attribute the difference to individual characteristics and experiences rather than a generational attitude.

    Compared to the population as a whole, a larger proportion of millennials are college-educated, and a smaller proportion live in rural areas. Like other urban and educated voters, urban and educated millennials tend to vote Democratic. Rural millennials, meanwhile, share many of the attitudes of older rural voters who voted for Mr. Trump.

    Activism by high school students in response to the Parkland, Fla., shooting has inspired interest in the generation younger than millennials, known as “Gen Z” or “iGen.” A recent Washington Post essay declared: “Millennials disrupted the system. Gen Z is here to fix the mess.” It argued that members of this cohort “value compromise” as “a byproduct of their diversity and comfort with working with peers from different backgrounds.”

    But given that public schools have been resegregating for decades, to assume that the demographic makeup of a generation would have a meaningful impact on most individual Gen Z members’ experiences with diversity seems misguided.

    Although much of its current popularity can be traced to the influential 1991 book “Generations” by Neil Howe and William Strauss, generational thinking dates back to the second half of the 19th century. Sarah Laskow of The Atlantic explained in 2014 that philosophers at this time were, in the words of the sociologist Karl Mannheim, “anxious to find a general law to express the rhythm of historical development, based on the biological law of the limited lifetimes of man.” /But understanding societal phenomena through the lens of groups of people born around the same time has always had its limits.

    For example, it’s true that for young men coming-of-age during the Vietnam War, being born in a particular year (and, thanks to the draft lottery, on a particular day) could be life-shaping. But even here, an individual’s class was a factor in whether he actually went to war — men from privileged backgrounds had many options to avoid the draft, the burden of which fell mainly on the working class.

    Like war service, entering the labor market at a time of recession, as most millennials did, can be difficult. But race and class are more important in affecting how this experience plays out for individuals.

    Take white millennial college graduates: Yes, they’re part of an age cohort that has experienced worse economic conditions than graduates of the preceding generation — but that doesn’t give us a particularly meaningful understanding of their plight, given that they are still better off when it comes to income than the average non-college-educated worker of any age.

    Some may argue that the generation game, if intellectually vacuous, is basically harmless. But dividing society by generation obscures the real and enduring lines of race, class and gender. When, for example, baby boomers are blamed for “ruining America,” the argument lumps together Donald Trump and a 60-year-old black woman who works for minimum wage cleaning one of his hotels.

    The pattern of inherited privilege points to yet another reality that the generation game ignores: the decline of social mobility between generations and the rise of what the French economist Thomas Piketty has called a “patrimonial society.” When it comes to wealth and its accompanying privileges, the wealth of the previous generation of one’s own family matter more than whether your birth year falls on one or other side of some arbitrary boundary.

    Today’s young people may choose political action aimed at reversing these trends or to let them continue and accelerate. But their choices will be determined by their political judgments and personal commitments, not by a number on a birth certificate.

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